GAO: FAA Should Detail Agreement With Europe

 - December 13, 2011, 1:50 PM

The FAA should provide more detailed information on efforts to align with Europe on ATC modernization to mitigate “continuing skepticism” among aviation industry stakeholders, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). In a performance audit report to Congress, the agency recommends that the FAA disseminate more information in public documents and in particular describe for stakeholders a memorandum of cooperation signed in March that established a formal collaborative structure for the U.S. NextGen and European Sesar ATC modernization programs. The agreement between the European Union and FAA, signed during a high-level conference in Budapest, calls for both sides to research the interoperability of avionics, communication protocols and procedures. “These details could allow stakeholders to judge for themselves whether interoperability efforts are moving ahead deliberately, as planned, and provide assurances that FAA is serious about collaborating on interoperability and implementing NextGen,” GAO stated. “Providing this assurance could help to mitigate stakeholders’ skepticism about whether or when NextGen and Sesar benefits will be realized and alleviate airlines’ hesitancy to equip with new technology.”